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Website Personalization

Leveraging Website Personalization Without Being Creepy

Last month Tracy Sestili, Chief Revenue Officer of Intellimize sat down with Mark Ogne, Founder and CEO of The ABM Consortium, and Bob Samuels, CEO of Techconnectr for a candid conversation on website personalization at scale. Although their conversation covered everything from AI to margaritas at B2BMX, one topic that came up, again and again, was how to leverage website personalization without being creepy.

To help you avoid creating digital experiences that can be off-putting to your audience, we’ve compiled the insights Tracy, Mark, and Bob shared during their chat below.

If you’d prefer to listen to their conversation in full, you can check it out here

Personalization Should Be Undetectable and Helpful

With the sheer volume of consumer data marketers have access to, it’s not hard to cross the line when it comes to personalization. Just ask Pinterest, whose personalization debacle led to the brand sending out congratulatory emails to tons of single women who happened to be pinning wedding content. Although this is an extreme example, when consumers can detect what marketing segment they fall into it can feel downright creepy—especially when that segment doesn’t actually align with who they are.

To avoid this personalization pitfall, Tracy recommends thinking about how you can make your personalization strategies undetectable to consumers. Rather than opting for conspicuous personalization tactics like name tokens, think about how you can use personalization to help visitors and invisibly guide them through your buyer's journey.

Below are some discreet ways to personalize your website:

Discreet B2B Website Personalization Ideas

  • Show a visitor an eBook that aligns with their interests
  • Personalize the logo farm on your homepage with brands that are similar to the visitor’s
  • Use the visitor’s industry to inform the types of imagery you use on your site

Discreet Ecommerce Website Personalization Ideas

  • Recommend items that complement those already in a visitor’s cart
  • Personalize site photography to feature models in the same age group as the visitor

Personalize Differently for Customers

There’s no doubt that you have a deeper relationship with customers than casual browsers who have not yet made a purchase. This means that you can personalize your website experience differently for customers than you would for prospective buyers. 

Because you already have their contact information and know more about their needs, it’s safer to be more obvious with your personalization tactics with customers. For B2B customers this may mean welcoming them back to your website via your chatbot. In the case of ecommerce, this could be recommending products to customers based on their previous purchases. While these personalization tactics are more overt, they are appropriate for those whom you’ve already begun to form a relationship with.

Be Careful with Forms

Website forms can present a frustrating paradox for marketers—make your form too short and you won’t gather enough data to personalize, and make your form too long and people won’t fill out your form at all. When building website forms, be sure to experiment with how many fields you have and what types of questions you ask, and see how these factors impact conversion rates.

Additionally, be very careful with the order of your form fields. Mark recalls seeing a form early in his career where the first question asked for the visitor’s gender. In addition to being creepy, oversights like this are offensive and can lead to a negative brand reputation. 

We hope these three tips give you the foundation you need to avoid creepy personalization fails with ease. For more information about each of these tips, plus countless other marketing insights, be sure to listen to Tracy, Mark, and Bob’s full conversation.

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